Miniature Feed Mixing Plant for Health and Profit

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Feeding is such an important component of any animal husbandry operation. Not only is it the single most expensive component, but it also effects the health and well being of each individual animal and therefore contributes to the profitability and success of the whole operation. Research has been done over the years indicating exactly what any animal requires in terms of nutrients for what ever system you follow, this information can be applied to the benefit of your farming operation. One fact cannot be argued away – no animal can produce optimally without a balanced diet. 

In my own case, I have set up a small blending plant with great success. I do not process any raw materials, as I buy every ingredient in ready to use format, but purely blend it in the right ratio and consistency.

SELECT QUALITY INGREDIENTS

I use an average of about eight dry raw ingredients, depending on the final product, and have sourced regular,  suppliers who offer high quality  products and are reliable for these. After the initial blending, I add either molasses or oil, both adding mainly energy to the finished product and helps make the product virtually dust free. This method prevents the product from separation and finer ingredients such as limestone, diatomaceous earth and vitamin / mineral premixes from segregating and moving to the bottom of the container. All of this makes it easier and more enjoyable for the animal to consume. Also, each and every mouthful supplies a balanced diet with the required nutrients in place to be healthy and produce optimally.

MEASURING ACCURATELY AND BLENDING DRY INGREDIENTS WELL

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I use a large number of two liter plastic containers to accurately weigh each ingredient  to make up a batch which is around 1.25 Kg in total. I do this product by product, which eliminates confusion and limits  possible errors. In other words, I would weigh in all the wheat, then all the blood meal, etc,etc always ending with the diatomaceous earth and lastly the vitamins and minerals. As soon as I have about twenty buckets each containing all the raw materials, I would  blend the contents of each one using a food blender / wisk, blending for about ten seconds.

ADDING  GREENS

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Even though I do not formulate to have green material into the ration, I always have a surplus in the garden and mix about 50 – 100 grams into each batch, hoping that it may supply some natural ingredients over and above what I have already catered for (I of course  do not do this for my free ranging animals). I only take the finer and softer parts of the plants and feed the more fibrous parts to the rabbits.  Cardoon has stood me well here in Dunedin as it grows vigorously and even though I eat the best part of the cardoon, it still leaves enough for the rabbits and poultry. If I have other surpluses like cabbage, salads, spinach, etc I would use that instead.

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As soon as I have blended the dry ingredients I add the greens and blend everything for another 20 seconds, chopping and mixing the greens well into the dry mix.

 

ADDING MOLASSES OR OIL

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After the greens are mixed into the feed, I ad the molasses or oil and blend for another 10 seconds. The feed is now complete and ready to use

SCREENING

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Screening the final mix is very important as a last mixing exercise  to ensure there are no large parts that may be inedible. The final feed must be an even bite size  and well mixed together in  a uniform consistency that would not separate easily.

CAPACITY OF MIXING PLANT

Once you are in operation and all your ingredients and final feed containers are all close and within easy reach, it is very easy to weigh out new batches while, at the same time, mixing the feed of the already weighed ingredients. Mixing cycles are about two minutes and doing 30 Kg per hour is relatively easy. A morning session of four hours delivers 120 Kg plus, depending on how often you break for coffee. This is enough for a reasonable sized operation, like my own, for one week.

The advantage here is  that you have a well mixed feed, you know that all the essential ingredients are in the product and the feed is always fresh.  By mixing your own feed you   are assured that your animals are always well fed enabling them to produce optimally and make money for you.

 

 

 

Another Giant Puffball Mushroom ! (Calvatea gigantea)

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It was our second opportunity to taste a Puffball mushroom.  This one was a lot bigger than the previous one and after everyone had eaten we still had leftovers. The texture is marshmallowy or tofu like and is complimented well if fried in a crispy jacket of egg and unflavoured fresh bread crumbs ( Since I had fed all the bread that Mrs BYF had saved for the crumbs to the chickens she had to make do with foccacia crumbs, which were a trifle coarse). The flavour is very delicate, subtle mushroom and is easily lost by adding spices or other flavours. The breadcrumbs were considered salty enough so no salt was added. We used a bit of vegetable oil and butter as the frying medium.   Previously we made a frittata with a bit of uncooked mushroom, which was nice, but did not do the mushroom any favours. The texture was lost in that of the cooked egg and the flavour was hardly discernible. The piece of mushroom had also spent the night in the fridge and that may also have been a bad idea.

The spores of this mushroom could be dormant for 10 years and mushrooms only appear when conditions are perfect. Nobody knows what conditions are required, so we can only hope and keep an eye out for next Autumn.

Crumbed and Fried.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

Puffball Mushrooms

 

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We are so privileged that Puffball Mushrooms are growing in our friend’s garden across the road, and even more privileged that they are prepared to to share it with us for a MUSHROOM FEAST every year. So it was with great excitement that they called and announced that the puffballs are up. We went to take photographs today and will harvest them tomorrow for the feast in the evening. We shall report on recipes and results the day after tomorrow!!! How good can life be?

Peperoni Ripieni (Stuffed Red Capsicum)

Today, while I was building a Rooster Box to shut up Alvin (literally as well), Mrs BYF really delivered!! Peperoni Ripieni di Riso e Peperoni Ripieni Melanzane.

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We found some perfect, ripe, small capsicums, just right for a great antipasto. Half of them were stuffed with risotto made with onion, a bit of home made pancetta and one mushroom that had escaped yesterday’s lunch. The rest were stuffed with eggplant, and here is the recipe with a hearty Salute! to the great Marcella Hazan.

Pepperoni Ripieni (with eggplant) 

4 small peppers, if you are using large ones adjust the recipe to suit

1/2 cup fresh unflavoured breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon anchovies chopped

1 big pinch of oregano

1 tablespoon capers chopped

2 cloves of garlic (adjust to taste) chopped

1 ripe, fresh tomato, chopped. It should really be peeled but I could not be bothered

1/2 cup of fried eggplant chopped

2 tablespoons of fresh flat leaf parseley chopped

olive oil for sprinkling at the end. The fried eggplant will have enough oil so you do not have to add to the mix

pinch of salt

black pepper

retain 3 tablespoon of crumbs to sprinkle at the end

Place the whole peppers under the grill and roast on all sides until the skin is charred all over. Let cool and when you can handle them, remove the skin and seeds carefully. retain the ‘pocket’ shape of the pepper.  The roasting makes the flesh of the pepper dense and luscious and imparts a smokey flavour.  I always have fried eggplant in the fridge under oil but it is very easy to fry the eggplant in a bit of oil until soft. Slice the eggplant in slices about 1cm thick, sprinkle with salt and leave for 20 minutes at least. Rinse off the salt and dry well with a paper towel. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and and fry the pieces of eggplant without overlapping or overcrowding.

Mix and chop all the ingredients together, adjust the salt to taste. Stuff the peppers tightly with the mixture. Pack them in an ovenproof dish big enough to contain all of them and keep them from falling over. Sprinkle with the left over crumbs, add a tiny drizzle of olive oil, and bake for 20 minutes in an oven pre heated to 200 degrees

Remove from oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes or bring to room temperature before serving. Do not refrigerate before eating.

All of this enjoyed with some perfect red home made wine and afterwards I would be excused extending my siesta to 90 minutes in stead of the normal 60. ENJOY!!